LITHGOW'S mayor says the town "cannot keep denying a lot of big industry" as she throws her support behind the latest big battery proposal in the region.
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Energy Australia has announced that it is investigating the viability of an up to 500 megawatt battery at its Mount Piper Power Station near Portland.
"The project would support future energy security in NSW as coal generation retires and more renewables enter the system," Energy Australia head of portfolio development Daniel Nugent said in a media release about the project.
The Energy Australia announcement follows the privately owned NSW company Greenspot - which buys disused fossil fuel industry sites with the intention to give them a new life - securing approval for a 500MW/1000MWh grid-scale battery at the former Wallerawang power station.
Demolition work has transformed the sprawling site of the former one-gigawatt coal-fired station in recent months.
The two battery projects also come on top of proposed pumped hydro projects in the region.
A separate pumped hydro project at Lake Lyell, near Lithgow, proposed by Energy Australia, received an $11 million recoverable grant from the NSW Government, but is being opposed by the Concerned Lithgow Community (CLC) group.
In regards to the Energy Australia battery at the Mount Piper Power Station, Ms Statham said that, if it went ahead, it would mean more jobs for the area.
"It is obviously going to mean more positions of work, which is what we're desperately looking forward to as, in time, we replace the power station and coal mining," she said.
"I think whatever we can get in our area that's going to promote business and employment is essential.
"We cannot keep denying a lot of big industry because we may not believe it is going to be the best thing for our town.
"We have to make sure our town is going to be sustainable into the future."
The Concerned Lithgow Community (CLC) group has voiced its support for the Energy Australia battery proposal while maintaining its opposition to the Lake Lyell pumped hydro proposal.
"CLC supports the concept of a proposed battery at the existing Mt Piper Power Station," spokespeople Rob White and Ray Smith said in a statement.
"The support assumes that it is totally independent of the Lake Lyell Pumped Hydro proposal.
"The proposed battery will store 500 MW of power with minimal community and environmental impact.
"By contrast, the Lake Lyell Pumped Hydro proposal will only store 335 MW but will have an immensely negative impact on Lake Lyell, Mt Walker, the local community and environment.
"Whilst welcoming the battery concept at the Mt Piper site, the group remains strongly opposed to the Lake Lyell Pumped Hydro proposal."
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